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jennifer lopez, shakira, emme Muniz, super bowl, half-tme show

If Shakira and JLo Super Bowl Halftime Show Offended You, You Might be a Racist

by Deborah Cruz

Adult women dancing in bodysuits on a public stage is apparently very offensive to some Americans. Not even Shakira and Jennifer Lopez are above the scrutiny of super bowl fans. Monday morning quarterbacks all over Twitter were appalled at JLo and Shakira’s Super Bowl half-time show.

Did JLo and Shakira Super Bowl halftime show offend you?

The whole world is freaking out that JLo and Shakira took the stage dressed in unitards (what most dancers in the world wear when performing. Have you ever seen a ballet?) and gyrated to Latin flared pop music. Oh how the mighty have fallen. So bizarre to me because these prudish, middle class, moms are the same ones who would gladly allow their own daughters (much younger) to dress in the same kind of outfit and do the same kind of dance in the most inappropriate exposition ever in pursuit of a mighty trophy in the name of a competition. You can’t have it both ways ladies. Or maybe it’s something different entirely?

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Maybe it’s because they’re women. Or worse, maybe it’s because they’re Latina women. Either way, I’m calling bullshit on the whole thing. If the super bowl halftime show was so offensive to you, you could have turned it off. By the way, if two moms who are in great shape and happen to be megastars take the stage in dancewear offends you but you find it perfectly alright for your children to watch grown men pummel one another, while you get blind drunk with friends and family, maybe you need to take a look at your priorities.

Also, why was it ok when Adam Levine took off his shirt in last year’s super bowl party but not ok for two fully clothed women to dance in anything other than a basic sway. That alone really solidifies my belief that those complaining are prudish, middle class, Caucasian women. You know, the Maroon 5 demographic. And I’m not saying these women are Republicans, but I’m not saying they’re not either.

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By the way, haven’t many, many performers before Jennifer Lopez and Shakira dressed just as scantily if not more so? Let’s take look back, shall we? Beyoncé, Madonna and Lady Gaga to name a few. And by no means am I talking ish. These women are amazing performers and their halftime shows blew my mind. Beyoncé’s halftime show still makes me feel empowered.

For us Latina women, for Latinos everywhere, when JLo and Shakira took the stage, it was a moment of Latino pride for all us. J Lo and Shakira did in 12 minutes in a Super Bowl halftime show what the Latina population has been trying to do since there’ve been Latinos in America, they made the world stop and listen while they shone a light on who we are as a people, as women, as mothers… as proud Latinas. Con gusto y orgullosa.

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On Sunday night, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira made history as the first Latina women to lead a Super Bowl halftime show. Jennifer Lopez hit the stage wearing a feathered cape with the United States flag on one side and the Puerto Rican flag on the other, on the inside because even though we Latino Americans are proud Americans we never forget our heritage. She opened her cape as her daughter, Emme, hit the stage singing “Born in the USA” as a children’s choir in cages sang along. My heart opened up and I felt seen for the first time in a long time by the world.

JLo and Shakira used their talent and platform to call attention to political issues that the world needed to see.

All this, after Demi Lovato (another Latina) sung the National Anthem flawlessly. Not only did Shakira and JLo bring it on a global stage in their own right, but they also brought Latin American superstars J Balvin and Bad Bunny to the stage. My daughters watched the halftime and cheered because they saw themselves and they were pride and there are so few times that Latinos get to be openly proud and understood and seen by the world.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez made me proud to be Latina.

I like football. It’s fun. But I get excited about the half time shows. I haven’t been as excited as I was on Sunday night in forever, for so many reasons. Firstly, representation matters and me, well, I’m not usually accurately represented in the media. Latina women are always portrayed as bronzed maids, nannies or sex kittens. We never speak without an accent and we’re often portrayed as salacious even when we’re just breathing. We’re portrayed as obedient wives, hypersexual singles or overbearing mothers. Our talents are thought to be cooking, cleaning and oozing sex. Maybe we can be all of these things but maybe we’re none of them because like the rest of the world’s population, Latinas are as unique and different as snowflakes.

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Are we raised with family and God at the center of our existence? Yes. Are our children the most important thing in our world? Yes, if we have them. We’re not taught to half-ass anything and we’re taught from very early on to take pride even in the little things from cleaning our house to graduating from Harvard but we don’t brag. Latinos are people of actions, not words. We’re unstoppable and formidable because we know from birth that the world will knock you down. It’s our job to keep getting back up. We draw our strength from a deep respect for ourselves and all those who came before us.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira may have shown up on stage looking sexier than a human should have a right to but they’re performers. Their energy, that infectious joy, emanates from within. It was standing in front of the world and saying no wall can keep me out. I’m here. I’m Latina American and I am unstoppable, sending the message to our daughters that that can be whatever they want to be in this world. Perpetuating the belief that when one grows we all grow. Lifting one another up. Inspiring others to follow their dreams and solidifying the fact that the time has come where Latina women are no longer going to be held prisoner by the stereotypes.

READ ALSO: Being More Latina and other Stereotypes

We don’t exist silently in your kitchens. Women don’t live just to serve others. We are not just women, we are Latina women and we’re scrappy and passionate. Latinas don’t give up. We care. We’re strong and fierce and beautiful and we matter. Latinos work twice as hard because we have to and we never give up because it’s ingrained in our DNA to keep going on, to keep going for it until we get it.

The super bowl halftime show was our coming-out party. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere. If you want to be offended by something that happened at the Super Bowl, maybe take a look at what our commander in chief was doing when the national anthem was being sung. Let me just say this, he wasn’t being very patriotic. Definitely not as patriotic as JLo wearing the American Flag while signing born in the USA.

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